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US retail shows surprising russet gains; ‘mini’ potatoes keep climbing in sales

Reversing recent market share erosion, potato category leader fresh russet potatoes showed modest volume gains in July through December. “We are seeing growth in categories we haven’t seen growth in for a while, which has been nice,” said Ross Johnson, global marketing manager for Potatoes USA, Denver. “We haven’t seen (russets) grow for a long time.” In visits across the U.S., Johnson said Potatoes USA has been working with retailers to help them take advantage of how the potato category can drive produce department profits. “I think there is an understanding (retailers) need to focus more on the potato category to help it grow even stronger.” Johnson said spuds help drive sales of other foods that can be paired with potatoes. From the middle of 2014 to the middle of 2017, the “mini” category has almost doubled, reaching nearly 16% of potato category sales, Ralph Schwartz, vice present of sales for Potandon Produce said  “No one is sure what the overall percent of the category it is going to capture but it keeps climbing,” he said. More